Summary: First Sunday in a new church. Shareing the common fear of change.
Today our topic is change. It seems like it is a subject that we are all focused on today. In general everything changes but there are parts of our lives that we like just like they are. Our homes, cars, favorite chair, or a favorite restaurant, we never want to see them change.
I read a story about Henry Ford. It seems that Mr. Ford had a man working for him in management named William Knudsen and he became convinced that it was time to update the Model T, it has been in production for 4 years. The competition was coming out with updates, changes and improvements.
But there was a problem; Mr. Ford would not even consider the idea. Ford loved his creation just as it was and was opposed to any changes at all.
While Mr. Ford was away on a vacation in Europe, Knudsen decided to put together a car to demonstrate his ideas for changes using a new design and color.
Ford returned from a European vacation, and he went to a Highland Park, Michigan garage and saw the new design created by Knudsen.
On-the-scene mechanics later revealed how Ford responded.
They say that the car had four doors, and the top was down, painted gleaming red and built on a new, low version of the Model T frame and wheels.
One eyewitness reported that "Ford had his hands in his pockets, and he walked around that car 3 or 4 times…. Finally, he got to the left hand side of the car, and he takes his hands out, gets hold of the door, and bang! He ripped the door right off!… He said he did not how Mr. Ford did it. The he jumped in the front seat, and bang goes the other door. Bang goes the windshield. He jumps over the back seat and starts pounding on the top. He rips the top with the heel of his shoe. He wrecked the car as much as he could with his bear hands.
For some unstated reason Knudsen soon left Ford for General Motors. It was some time before Mr. Ford started working on the Model A.
Henry Ford was one of the most creative men of his age. And yet… He - resisted the obvious need for change forced by the competition and times.
I think it is generally true that most people don’t like change. Not everyone will become violent at the suggestion or even when forced to do things differently buy rarely do they like it.
I read someplace that the only people who DO like change are "wet babies" … and even they aren’t too excited about it.
Churches are notorious for that kind of attitude as well. You’ll find many church boards and members saying things like
“we’ve never…………………………….done it that way before”
Someone once said that when it comes to change, the church is often like the snail riding on the back of a turtle
the church is often like the snail riding on the back of a turtle
…and do you know what a snail does when it rides on the back of the turtle?
It holds on tight and yells : "Whee!"
Many churches bulk at even the slightest change in their routine. Even when they’re fairly sure the changes would be something pleasing to God they still resist.
Now, things weren’t a whole lot different back in the days of the early church.
People back then didn’t like change anymore than people now do.
In our scripture today it is hard for us to imagine just how dramatic the changes described in the text are. We really don’t recognize how different our world is in comparison to the early church. We don’t even consider that what happened in our reading today did not become widely accepted until many years passed.
When Peter was invited to participate it was so big that the first half of the chapter describes how God prepared Peter. He gave him a vision that blew his mind. This big sheet comes down out of heaven and inside of it are all the unclean animals, the ones that every Jew learns from childhood are not to be eaten. And he also heard a voice, “Get up, Peter, Kill and eat.”
I think that you will recall that Peter is often a bit vocal and sometimes says things before he thinks them through. “No way God! I have never eaten anything unclean. “
God takes him through the vision and words 3 times. Peter knows who he is speaking to and yet he argues with the Lord about change.
None of us does that, right? We never question God about what is happening in our lives.
It seems that Peter would never have been open to visiting the home of Cornelius if he had not been prepared first.